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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the God-(damned)-article dept.

Open4D writes:

"Peter Higgs recently collected his Nobel Prize in Physics. He gave an interview for BBC radio, which can be heard here (30 mins). The headline of the resulting article focuses on how he may have just missed out on realizing how the Higgs Mechanism could link in with the Standard Model, but there are various other insights for anyone interested in a long life lived in Physics academia."

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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @03:50AM (#4672)

    For those who moderated me flamebait: go read The God Particle.

    To Sumarize:

    There are a number of problems with the Big Bang theory. One of the biggest was the uniformity of the cosmic background radiation. If the universe had expanded from a single point, the background radiation should be fairly uniform, but its TOO uniform.

    The solution to this was "expansion"; the idea that during the first moments after the big bang, the universe underwent a short period of ridiculously rapid expansion, rapid as in faster than the speed of light. This is completely impossible in the standard model, but was the only way to explain the uniformity of space. This was a terribly unsatisfactory explanation, but the only one available.

    Along comes Higgs with an explanation. The Higgs Field. The Higgs field says "Fuck the rules (look up symmetry breaking), we're going FTL!!!" And of course, fields are moderated by particles, so, a Higgs boson. If we call it a God Particle, we can sell more books and get on TV.

    (If you look up the Higgs boson on Wikipedia, you'll read a bunch of bollocks about the mass of W particles and electrons, but its always been about expansion).

    Bosons are force-carrying particles, so which force does the Higgs boson carry? Not one of the 4 in the standard model, so this will require an explanation also. Apparently, at high energies, the 4 forces (gravity, electro-magnatism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces) 'combine', in that they act the same at these energies. The Higgs boson is a force-carrying particle for the super-force, which is a combination of the known 4 forces of nature, at high energies.

    This makes it hard to find Higgs bosons, because the universe does not exist at an energy density that was present moments after the Big Bang. So to find it, we need to spend trillions building an underground particle accelerator so big it crosses national borders... And if you spend that much money trying to find it, you better fucking find it.

    So. The standard model predicts:

    1. It will take billions of particle collision attempts to create a Higgs boson (if it exists).

    2. Due to the extremely short half-life of the Higgs boson, its zero electrical charge, etc., it cannot be observed directly, but only through analyzing the decay products of particle collisions.

    3. For any possible observation of a decay chain that might have had a Higgs boson in it, there are dozzens of plausible decay chains that have no Higgs boson in it.

    SO.... When mother-fucking CERN anounces "WE'VE (possibly) FOUND THE HIGGS BOSON!!!!" after recording a single POSSIBLE decay chain indicative of one... what the fuck does the Nobel committee do? Well I guess they have to give him a fucking medal!

    This is how science really works.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by maxwell demon on Saturday February 22 2014, @11:11AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 22 2014, @11:11AM (#4784) Journal

    "Flamebait" is no judgement about the factual correctness of your post (there's intentionally no moderation for "Wrong"). It's about the way you write it. And that way is extremely flamebait.

    Of course the content of what you wrote is mostly wrong as well.

    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1) by isostatic on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:20PM

      by isostatic (365) on Saturday February 22 2014, @08:20PM (#4935) Journal

      Of course the content of what you wrote is mostly wrong as well.

      There's no "Wrong" mod as you're supposed to reply with why the person is wrong.

      The AC (who claims to be the type "killal -9 bash []") put time into writing something that's fairly interesting to the layman, it's not a copy-and-paste job, so the correct way is to explain why he's wrong.

      The original post, sure that was flamebait. I personally didn't see the longer post as flamebait though.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by maxwell demon on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:57PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:57PM (#4968) Journal

        OK, on what is wrong: If you actually look up the original article by Peter Higgs in Physical Review Letters (yes, I did — and BTW at that time I found that they switched to a horrible new site design which indeed reminds me very much of Slashdot beta ), you'll find not a single word about cosmology or inflation. Yes, you won't find anything about Z and W particles either (as he says himself in the interview linked from the summary, this association was done by Weinberg, not him), indeed he mentions solid state physis alongside particle physics.

        And symmetry breaking has nothing to do with FTL. A typical symmetry breaking process is if you put a pencil on its tip (a very symmetric situation, no horizontal direction is preferred), and it inevitably falls (to a very asymmetric situation, the pencil points to a specific direction; however it could point at any). What the symmetry breaking does in the case of the Higgs field is to make the field in the ground state (i.e. the vacuum) non-vanishing. Note that this is not a violation of Lorentz invariance because the field is scalar.

        What is true is that the Higgs field is considered as a possible(!) candidate for the inflaton field which is supposed to have driven the inflation. However that's not the problem it originally was intended to solve.

        Moreover, he's wrong even about the FTL in the inflation model: General relativity very decidedly does allow the distance between different points of space to grow faster than the speed of light (indeed, the distance to us of every single point beyond the cosmic horizon grows with superluminal "speed"). What is not allowed is that two objects at the same place more relative to each other faster than light in vacuum (that is, no object can leave its future light cone).

        Anyway, whatever force the Higgs field(!) carries (if it does actually carry a force; after all, its relation to the Higgs field is a bit more complex than for the normal force fields, but I'm not a particle physicist) would have to be extremely short-ranged (because the Higgs particle is extremely massive). Anyway the claim that every boson has to have an associated force IMHO is at least questionable the Helium atom is a boson, but what is the corresponding force?

        His points 1 and 2 of the standard model predictions are true. But the point 3 is simplified to the point of being misleading. There is much more done than to look which particles are generated in the decay, also their energies and momenta are determined. And from that you can determine the mass of the original particle which decayed. And what they observed at the LHC is clearly a mass which doesn't fit any of the existing particles, but is in the range of the possible Higgs masses. In the mean time it has been confirmed to also have the other properties of the Higgs boson, so it is very likely they indeed found the Higgs boson.

        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:59PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:59PM (#4969) Journal

          Oops ... "doesn't fit any of the existing particles" should have been "doesn't fit any of the known particles" of course.

          (And Soylent News programmers, please remove that restriction which doesn't let me post that correction immediately.)

          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.